As part of the special commissioning and production works and under the sponsorship of its main partner Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), the 18th edition of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2021, held under the theme “The Future Starts Now”, presented a new global musical performance at the Pierre Boulez Saal hall in Berlin, Germany on Friday June 18th and Sunday 20th. The Performance featured the 2019 Opusklassik award winner for classical music; the Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and was attended by a vast audience.
This global musical event comes within the framework of the Abu Dhabi Festival’s vision and strategy, which aims to spread the Arab musical heritage and its achievements worldwide through various initiatives to support innovative and groundbreaking musical pieces by major Arab artists abroad.
Her Excellency Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, founder and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Our partnerships with international arts organisations are a key part of Abu Dhabi Festival’s mission to support the performing arts in the capital and across the globe. Through our ongoing collaboration with Pierre Boulez Saal and Barenboim-Said Akademie, we have brought the fascinating work of Kinan Azmeh and many other Arab artists to perform at the unique concert hall. It has been a challenging year due to the pandemic. I am delighted to see Kinan, a deeply soulful virtuoso clarinetist, lead his CityBand and bring the stage to life once again.”
“I am excited to cooperate once again with a major entitiy such as Abu Dhabi Festival, a beacon of hope amidst the challenges we faced during Covid-19 pandemic. Making headway for the culture and arts sector in all aspects during the current circumstances. The Abu Dhabi Festival was a key player in spreading hope and tolerance over the past years through various events and musical performances to build bridges between people from various walks of life,” said, Kinan Azmeh, a musical composer and clarinetist.
Kinan Azmeh, the virtuoso as called by The New York Times, has gained international recognition for his unique compositions. He was able to transform his audience through a musical journey of passion and emotions over 90 minutes with his band, CityBand, at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berline, Germany, with a large attendance of different ethnicities and backgrounds.
HE Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE added: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Abu Dhabi Festival to Germany once again, and to see the Festival continue its long tradition of building cultural bridges to the world. Bringing Arab artists such as Kinan Azmeh to Berlin’s iconic Pierre Boulez concert hall is a wonderful continuation of the cultural dialogue between our two countries”
The musical performance was a huge success to be added to Azmeh's brilliant record of solo and orchestral compositions, with the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic and Syrian Symphony Orchestra to name a few. Additionally, his works include composing soundtracks for feature films, short movies, and animation.
Kinan Azmeh holds a PhD in music from New York’s Juilliard School, and shared the stage with musical luminaries such as Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim, and Djivan Gasparian. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a faculty member at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, and as a member of the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.
The year-long programme for the 18th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival combines a unique hybrid programme of virtual and in-person performances, exhibitions, and events, by over 500 artists from more than 50 countries. The Festival will provide audiences with 16 exciting world premieres, 12 festival productions, eight global co-productions and four exclusive commissions, with 1 global music tour.
About Abu Dhabi Festival
Founded in 2004, Abu Dhabi Festival was initially a small arts and culture platform that soon graduated to one of the world’s premiere annual events. Held in the UAE, it celebrates artistic and creative excellence, and promotes the role of music and the arts in bringing nations closer. It also promotes Abu Dhabi as a leading global hub for creativity and as an Emirati beacon for respect and tolerance.
Strengthened by a growing network of 30 international partners, the festival brings audiences together each year to enjoy world premieres and exclusive commissions in the UAE and around the world.
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